Roger Medearis (1920-2001)
Roger Medearis was born in Fayette, Missouri, on March 6, 1920. At the age of 18 he enrolled in Kansas City Art Institute to become an illustrator. His goals as an artist were transformed by his teacher, Thomas Hart Benton. His works sold in New York by Associated American Artists Galleries in 1940-41. After his discharge from the army in 1946, he moved to Connecticut and built a studio. He soon realized the once popular styles of Realism had been replaced with Abstract Expressionism. Nonetheless, seven of his Realist paintings were sold at his first show on April 1, 1949, at New York’s Kende Galleries. In his second show on June 5, 1950, he released “Family Reunion,” which later exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s show entitled “American Painting Today: 1950-51.” Disappointed by America’s aversion to Realism and his lack of income, Medearis returned to the Midwest. For more than 10 years he worked as a salesman in the paper industry and avoided all contact with art. Then, in 1958, he moved to California. By the early 1960s, he found himself being pulled back into the art world. Medearis began visiting art galleries and museums and by 1966 had built a complete studio in his garage. After resigning from the Container Corporation of America in 1969, Medearis resumed painting. His first paintings reflected his earlier work, using egg tempera as his medium and Regionalism as his style. As time passed, his medium changed to acrylics and oils, and his subjects changed from the Midwest to the Far West and from figures to landscapes. Medearis developed his own unmistakably personal style. He continued to paint until his death in July 2001.